Scientists at Durham University are using a £950,000 NERC grant to find out when and where dogs first became domesticated. They are examining bones of wolves and dogs.
The earliest conclusive evidence showed dogs have been pets for about 14,000 years, but theories now suggest it could have been for as long as 35,000 years.
"Just about everything associated with domestication is really about the beginnings of farming. Except dogs.
"Dogs were domesticated by hunter-gatherers at least 3,000-5,000 years before agriculture and possibly tens of thousands of years earlier."
The three year project starts in October.
More top news
Jeremy Corbyn MP tells ITV News Tyne Tees he is 'disappointed' Labour MPs have 'decided to misinterpret' his stance on Russia.
The smash happened on Dovedale Road, in the Fulwell area of Sunderland on Saturday morning.
New figures have revealed nearly £25,000 has been paid out to motorists in North Yorkshire whose vehicles have been damaged by potholes.